14 Fall Weekend Family Getaways Near NYC
Fall in the Northeast is a lovely time of year for a family getaway. The crisp air, fall colors, and outdoor activities are hard to resist for most kids (and grown-ups). While New Yorkers can experience some magic in our city's gorgeous parks, which can feel almost like a countryside retreat during a foliage walk, there's nothing like a weekend away to recharge fully. If you stayed close to home during the summer travel season, you're probably itching for fall travel weekend to immerse your family in seasonal fun.
We've rounded up 14 options, from a luxury retreat in Connecticut to cabin camping in Virginia to glamping in New Hampshire. Find more ideas for fall travel day trips and getaways in our Family Travel Guide.
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Bucks County, Pennsylvania, offers stunning fall foliage and plenty of history to explore. Photo by Reflections by Ruth/courtesy of Visit Bucks County
1. Black Bass Hotel – Lumberville, Pennsylvania
This hotel offers a selection of eight spacious suites and has some killer deals through the end of the year. History buffs can appreciate a visit here for many reasons. The hotel dates back to the 1740s and overlooks the Delaware River, sitting just 14 miles upstream from the spot of George Washington's famed crossing. President Grover Cleveland was a frequent guest and has a suite named in his honor. Renovated about 10 years ago, care was taken to preserve the hotel's history while providing modern creature comforts. Bucks County is home to plenty of family-friendly destinations, including the preschool-friendly Sesame Place, which is open weekends in the fall. For less commercial seasonal fun, consider booking a 45-minute ride on the New Hope Railroad. You'll board a restored early 1900s train and enjoy a narrated ride through the countryside. If you prefer to seek scenery on your own, embark on a tour of the region's covered bridges. Save time to stop by Peddler's Village, where you can shop at more than 65 unique stores, grab snacks, and gape at its Scarecrow Village or participate in a scarecrow-making workshop.
2. The Roxbury — Roxbury, New York
The Catskill Mountains offer outdoor fall options like biking, hiking, fishing, kayaking, and zip-lining, with phenomenal leaf-peeping to sweeten the deal. The Roxbury, a funky boutique motel where each room boasts a whimsical thematic design, is a far cry from the traditional, rustic Catskills mountain resort. There are 19 rooms, many with double beds or sofa beds, and nine spacious suites. The attention to detail will knock your socks off. Book "Genie's Bottle," inspired by the television show I Dream of Jeannie and enjoy the spherical bathroom with its Japanese soaking tub. If you like red velvet, Miss Kitty's Saloon is for you. For the Trekkie that lurks in you, The Final Frontier is a nod to Star Trek.
The historic town of Roxbury is fun to walk, or take in the foliage on a train ride with the Delaware and Ulster Railroad, which departs from a historic depot in Roxbury. Mini day trips from the area include Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall of Fame (an hour away).
The Inn by the Sea lives up to its name with stunning ocean views. Photo courtesy of the resort
3. Inn by the Sea — Cape Elizabeth, Maine
Coastal Maine is peaceful in the fall, so if you're considering a long weekend getaway that combines the best of town and country, add the Inn by the Sea to your list. This Cape Elizabeth hotel looks like a peaceful painting, yet it's only a 15-minute drive from the hipster haven of Portland, which is brimming with top restaurants, shops, and family activities, including a children's museum. The hotel's location on Crescent Beach provides a private boardwalk that leads through a wildlife sanctuary to a mile of unspoiled sand where kids can build sandcastles and might even glimpse a seal or two. The view is enchanting in fall, with subtle touches of color blending with the seascape. The 61 contemporary rooms include spacious one- and two-bedroom suites and traditional rooms with fireplaces. Suites have fully equipped kitchens and sofa beds.
The inn offers family-friendly programming like family yoga and children's art classes. Visit the historic Portland Head Light, the oldest lighthouse in Maine, surrounded by space for kids to run and explore. The Inn's Sea Glass restaurant offers a dining experience with an eco-emphasis on serving underutilized, yet delectable, Gulf of Maine seafood. If your children don't care for fish, there's a standard kids menu. The inn is also one of the most pet-friendly hotels anywhere, so bring the pooch for some canine pampering.
There's lots of love from the animals at the Pine Ridge Dude Ranch. Photo courtesy of the Pine Ridge Dude Ranch
4. Pine Ridge Dude Ranch — Kerhonkson, New York
Just 90 miles from New York City, Pine Ridge Dude Ranch offers an off-the-beaten-path experience with all-inclusive convenience. You'll see fall foliage from a unique viewpoint here: On horseback, as a trail ride is included in stays for all visitors ages 9+. Younger buckaroos can enjoy pony rides daily. If equines aren't your thing, consider all the other activities the ranch offers from fishing to rock wall climbing, swimming, a petting zoo, and more. Big-time off-season discounts mean kids can stay for half-price, or even FREE, many weekends in fall. Despite the low price, the activities don't take a break. There are special harvest weekends, a line-dancing weekend, Halloween activities, and more. Enjoy farm-fresh produce during the weekly Sunday-morning farmers market.
5. Think Big! A Tiny House Resort — South Cairo, New York
New Yorkers are used to small-space living, but you've never seen anything like this tiny house resort. There are nine tiny houses on-site, each sleeping 2-7 people. Each home has a flush toilet (no small feat in the tiny house world!) and a working kitchen, plus an outdoor porch with a gas grill and fire pit. Patrons are welcome to visit the flock of chickens to collect eggs for breakfast or harvest fresh veggies from the garden. More farm fun includes goats, bunnies, and ducks to interact with and enjoy. Looking for other entertainment? Hop in the heated pool, go for a hike or borrow a kayak to paddle your way along the streams. Nearby, you'll find plenty of forestlands to explore, and if the snow flies early, you're not too far from some of the region's best skiing.
6. Woodstock Inn — Woodstock, Vermont
2020 update: Vermont has instituted a mandatory quarantine for some travelers. Visit the Vermont COVID-19 website for current restrictions, which are updated weekly.
Vermont is loaded with charming villages and covered bridges, but even in a state chock-full of quaint, Woodstock stands tall. Nestled in majestic mountains, it's a top spot to view the fall foliage, which greets you around every bend.
The Woodstock Inn is the essence of New England hospitality and a great jumping-off point for family fun in the area. The 142 spacious rooms and common areas are loaded with cozy touches. Complimentary bikes, large indoor and outdoor pools, and hiking trails provide hours of fun. Kelly Way Gardens, the resort's on-site garden, provides a holistic food supply to the resort's restaurants.
Billings Farm and Museum in Woodstock, Vermont, is the perfect place for making treasured memories with kids. Photo courtesy of the farm
Don't miss a visit to the Billings Farm & Museum. It's a fully operating dairy farm where you can get up close with the cows. Educational programming is excellent, and hotel guests enjoy free visits. F.H. Gillingham & Sons is Woodstock's general store, owned and operated by the same family since 1866. It sells an eclectic range of goods, many produced locally, but quality is the unifying factor. Kids also enjoy a trip to VINS Nature Center, a rehabilitation center for birds of prey, many of which are on display, that offers educational activities and even shows for kids, plus nature trails. On your way, stop to gawk at the majestic Quechee Gorge, which is sure to stun the whole family into silence (for a moment or two).
7. The Hotel Northampton — Northampton, Massachusetts
2020 update: Massachusetts has a quarantine requirement for certain states. Visit the website for current requirements. Smith College is closed for the fall semester.
Hampshire County in Massachusetts is a blend of artsy villages, progressive college towns, and agricultural landscapes. Northampton is home to Smith College, where the garden-filled campus is great for a stroll, and a visit to the Smith College Museum of Art is worthwhile. The small art collection is impressive, but just as memorable are the museum's decorative public bathrooms. Even if nature doesn't call, don't miss these bold, creative, functional works of art.
The historic Hotel Northampton offers 106 guestrooms, gracious public spaces, and friendly service, all walking distance from everything. Rent bikes at Northampton Bicycle and cycle the flat, 11-mile, car-free Norwottuck Rail Trail to Amherst. It's fringed with a canopy of colorful fall leaves and is just right for most school-aged kids to handle at least a section. The trail offers lots of snack options along the way, including luscious ice cream at Maple Valley Milk Company and Farm Store.
8. Camp Horizons – Harrisonburg, Virginia
Cabin camping was a trend this summer, and if you didn't get a chance to try it then, Camp Horizons is extending its season with two Fall Getaway Weekends, September 11-13 and October 23-25. You'll stay in a rustic summer-camp style cabin, enjoy all-inclusive meals, and have access to the sprawling grounds, plus plenty of activities to choose from. Add a trail ride to your stay for an additional fee. Camp Horizons makes an excellent jumping-off point for exploring the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. Shenandoah National Park is about an hour away, and its fall colors are stunning and should be at their peak during the October weekend.
Chasing those warmer temps? Retreat to the Embassy Row Hotel in Washington. Photo courtesy of the hotel
9. The Embassy Row Hotel — Washington, DC
2020 update: DC museums are beginning to reopen, though most are still shuttered. The rooftop area and pool are closed for the season.
Autumn is a fine time to travel to Washington if you're looking to make summer linger a little longer. DC boasts a wealth of cultural treasures and parks. Stay in Dupont Circle and live like locals at the boutique Embassy Row Hotel. Its location puts you in the heart of the area's museums, eateries, and people watching. At the Sunday farmers market, dozens of vendors sell fresh fruit, veggies, meats, artisan cheeses, and baked goods, so plan on a picnic.
Enjoy farm-fresh produce at the DuPont Circle Farmers Market. Photo courtesy of the market
Other Dupont Circle gems include neighborhood institution Kramerbooks and the modern art at the Phillips Collection. Venture out of the neighborhood to explore the phenomenal National Museum of African American History and Culture. The Embassy Row Hotel is a magnet for locals thanks to its rooftop yoga classes (open to the public) and casual eatery, Station Kitchen & Cocktails. Kids should enjoy a dip in the rooftop pool, open through September, weather permitting. The rooms are colorful and comfortable. Rollaway beds and cribs are available on request. The hotel's Underground Playground is a fun spot for families to spend time playing foosball, pingpong, air hockey, and other games. Find plenty of area things to do curated by our Washington, DC team.
Glamp in the White Mountains of New Hampshire for the full fall effect. Photo courtesy of Huttopia Camping
10. Huttopia Camping — Albany, New Hampshire
Camp without sacrificing comfort in the White Mountains when you stay in glamping-style tents loaded with homey amenities. Huttopia, open seasonally until mid-October, is ideal if you want a low-stress camping experience. It provides kitchen supplies, bedding, and more. The Trapper's Tent sleeps up to five on real mattresses and includes a bathroom. Book the Chalet, and you'll stay in a two-bedroom wooden cabin that sleeps up to six and includes a kitchen and bath. Fish in the lake or take a nature hike. There are low-key organized activities for kids in summer, and a few sporadic ones continue into the fall. If you crave the 21st century, head to North Conway, just 10 miles away. We've got tons of family-friendly picks nearby in our roundup of 25 things to do in the White Mountains.
For a quick New England getaway, consider a stay in Southport, Connecticut's Delamar. Photo by Julie Bidwell for the hotel
11. Delamar — Southport, Connecticut
Southport is the sort of all-American town that brings to mind parades and ice cream cones. The cobblestone streets are lined with stately homes and charming shops, giving it a Norman Rockwell feel. It's located on a swath of Connecticut shoreline around 90 minutes from Manhattan. The Long Island Sound's water usually stays warm enough for a dip into early October, and the coastal influence means leaves change a bit later in the season than they do inland.
The Delamar Southport is just minutes from the beach. It offers 44 rooms loaded with luxuries. A complimentary grab-and-go breakfast is one of its perfect perks. The on-site Artisan Restaurant, Tavern & Garden, features New England-inspired farm-to-table dining. The spa is top-notch, so try to sneak in a treatment. It's pet friendly, too. The hotel is just a short distance from the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk and the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport.
12. The Whaler's Inn — Mystic, Connecticut
You don't have to go far from NYC to experience classic New England vibes. The Whaler's Inn offers history and scenery in equal amounts in Mystic, Connecticut. Mystic is just a few hours by car from NYC and offers all the seaside views you crave. Get your timed-entry tickets for the not-to-be-missed Mystic Aquarium in advance. It has everything from seals to sea urchins, and even an exhibit on dinosaurs! Continue your seaside-themed weekend with a snack at the Sea View Snack Bar, which offers low-key eats in a family-friendly environment. Take the family on a cruise by sailboat, motorboat, or steamboat, and wrap up the weekend with a visit to the Mystic Seaport Museum. This re-created 19th-century fishing village lets kids explore a variety of maritime trades.
13. Hotel Rehoboth — Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
Nothing beats a beach town in the fall. The crowds are gone, but the water is still warm. Hotel Rehoboth, a newish upscale hotel close to the boardwalk, is a sleepy charmer during the off-season, where a family can feel indulgent without breaking the bank. Delaware's Rehoboth Beach is the perfect spot for some late-season beaching, with tons of other activities to keep the family occupied...like a kid-friendly brewery! Check out the Crooked Hammock for a brew, some fantastic food, and a playground in the back where big kids can happily entertain themselves. There's also Dogfish Head, the iconic Rehoboth brewery that is kid-friendly and has tons of great beer and food to sample. Stop by Funland, a kid-friendly destination that lives up to its name, with 19 different rides sure to thrill even the amusement park skeptic. For animal enthusiasts, check out Fisherman's Wharf and hop on one of the dolphin-watching cruises.
Skytop Lodge in the Poconos is full of fun, family-friendly fall activities. Photo courtesy of the lodge
14. Skytop Lodge — Poconos, Pennsylvania
The picturesque Poconos are chock-full of family fun. Whether it's warm or cold out, there's plenty to keep the kids busy. At the Skytop Lodge, choose from a room in the historic lodge or a cabin nearby, and take your pick of delicious dining options throughout your stay. Downstairs, there's a game room with pingpong, mini golf, and arcade games for kids and adults alike. In the fall, enjoy nature walks, lawn games, and boating. Older kids (10 and up) can take advantage of the year-round TreeTop Adventure Course. The hotel offers swimming in any weather—there's an indoor pool if it's cold, and an outdoor pool in case you come in warmer weather.
A version of this story was published in 2017; it has since been updated. Louise Finnell and Jody Mercier contributed additional reporting.